Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 19:17

He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday Links

Wizzymedpower shared an excellent post, "Sharpen Your Mind," and I needed the reminder:

I needed the reminder provided by Maureen Lang over at Christians Read:

An extra link: With the holidays fast approaching, they can be a nightmare for survivors, peppered with triggers. My sister shares her game plan and a lot of good suggestions on her blog.

God bless.

Friday, October 27, 2017

There and Back Again Final Thoughts

I worried about my back. Considering the fact that we drove 27oo miles roundtrip in 5 days, over a 10-day period, which does not include my flying time, another 2-1/2 hours, each way. I had no trouble. No back discomfort at all and never took a single pain reliever. My friends watched out for me, making sure we stopped often. I'd walk around the parking lot and/or do my physical therapy on breaks. The 2002 Suburban was helpful. I had support from the headrest all the way down. I was able to press my back against the seat and have complete support. I was able to straighten my knees and roll my ankles. I have no fear of doing this again.

My eating was the best I've ever done. I didn't overeat. I didn't deprive myself either. I endeavored to make healthy choices when possible. I didn't nix treats, but I didn't binge, not even once. I learned to throw out half-eaten snacks. I did not have to finish anything, unless I wanted to finish it. No eating until I was uncomfortable.

Of my essential oils, I took Tea Tree, Vanilla, Sweet Orange, Jasmine Absolute, Lavender, Peppermint, Frankincense and Myrrh (yes, the last two were combined). I used the Tea Tree every day on skin tags. It helps a little. The vanilla was nice but quickly faded, as was the sweet orange. Lavender is my bedtime scent. I forgot to use the Peppermint, but it makes anything unpleasant smell better. I should have used it at the station where they were re-tarring the parking area. Ick. Frankincense and Myrrh was used for swelling by my friend who fell. I used Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream for the ongoing rash on my wrist. The surprise was the Jasmine. It energized me. I try to remember to use it every day at home.

I took time to put my feet up and lay down to give my back a rest when I needed it. I didn't push until I was exhausted, ever. I stood through some of the classes because the chairs weren't comfortable. The classes were never longer than an hour, so it wasn't bad. I took things slow. I had to be careful about walking. The ground, including the sidewalks, was uneven, and I had a couple of close calls. Because I was careful, nothing serious happened. Thank you, God.

I let go of all my worries about home. I couldn't do anything more than half way across the country. I lived in the moment, savoring all the little things, taking everything in, as much as I could. I texted home every day so they'd know I was alive. My sister and my friend texted back encouragement. One of my favorite was when I texted my sister that we had hit a little bit of rush hour in Atlanta. She texted back: Adventure in slow motion.

Relaxed is an understatement. I was happy to help whenever possible. There are a lot of things I couldn't do but that didn't keep me from doing what I could. There were a lot of things I wanted to do and didn't because there's only so much time in a day. I enjoyed my friends and the events.

One of my worries was about my ability to maintain the healthy boundaries I'd worked so hard to create. I feared the "Abuse Me" tattoo clung to my forehead despite all my hard work. During those 10 days, no one invaded my personal space without my permission. Anyone let in was someone I trusted enough to invite in. On occasion, I wondered if I had a new tattoo on my forehead: Come too close and biting will be the least of your worries. Since I'm not able to see myself as others see me, and I don't try, I can only guess at the possibilities. "Guess what I'm thinking" is not a game I choose to play often anymore. I've had my fill. I also think that part of it is that my chosen circle of friends have pretty healthy boundaries of their own. I endeavored to respect their boundaries and hope I was successful. I'm still learning.

At home, I usually choose to be alone. On my adventure, I usually chose to be with my friends. I've never laughed so much in my life. My friends and I share the same gallows humor. We did what we wanted to do, often not together, and endeavored to support each other. It was fun!

It was a fantastic adventure! Let's do it again.

In the kitchen's garden.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

There and Back Again Day 10

I woke early, as usual, and readied for the day. One last packing of my suitcase. L provided toast and yummy homemade jam. She also kindly cooked up some nice crispy bacon. Delicious. L, J, and I chatted until J needed to headed out for home. Another hour, and L drove me to the Austin airport.

Blessedly, I was again Pre-checked. The TSA agent saw my "Eagle and Child" T-shirt, from Oxford, England. It's were Tolkien and CS Lewis hung out with other friends. The literary group was known as the Inklings. The agent commented that he and his wife were only 20-30 miles away, but his wife didn't want to drive there. So close. I consoled him with the information that the shirt was a gift from a friend who had gone. When I went to England I didn't know about the Eagle and Child. The discussion made the whole experience enjoyable.

Shortly before my flight was scheduled to depart sheeting rain arrived. The plane was diverted to San Antonio, so we were delayed 2 hours. I reminded myself that I was on an adventure to the very end. The flight home was pretty uneventful. My sister picked me up.

The adventure ended, for now. It's given me a whole new perspective. Life is an adventure, and I'm living it.

The last photo I took in the Shaker Village. The building is north of the West Family Dwelling. Simply gorgeous.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

There and Back Again Day 9

Awake shortly after 5 AM, packed, and eating breakfast at 6AM. We were on the road by 6:30 AM. West side of Georgia to Alabama, down Alabama almost to Montgomery and west, across Mississippi, Louisiana, and into Texas.

 The view from the highway, when it wasn't raining. It rained most of the way, sometimes so hard it was difficult to see. We gained an hour and arrived in Katy, Texas, about 7 PM. We ate dinner and decide to continue on home to L's, as it was only 1-1/2 hours away. L's family kindly accommodated us on short notice.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 19:11

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Links

Restless Jo shared her walk in York and yarn bombing. I didn't know such a thing existed.

Jean Fischer offers more great advice for writers:

God bless.

Friday, October 20, 2017

There and Back Again Day 8

One more breakfast buffet at the Trustees' Table. Many of us attended as a last meal together. There were a few more things scheduled, but we needed to head home. As soon as we finished breakfast, we checked out and drove to Georgia.

The trees were beginning to change.

 I'm grateful I was able to see a little fall.

Thanks God.

We dropped off S at home and continued on to the other side of Atlanta, stopping for the night at the Comfort Inn Airport. I only noticed the planes the first few times. Then it reminded me of the air purifier in my room and was quite comforting. We ended the evening with pizza delivered to our room. It was yummy.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

There and Back Again Day 7

The last full day of 4LEP. I had no trouble waking every morning. I discovered that Benadryl is helpful with motion sickness. It also helped me sleep better.

Saturday morning's Dr. Drout session was titled "Bindo Bolger-Baggins? Marmaduke Brandybuck? Revise! Revise! Revise!" This appealed to my writing side. It inspired me to tackle the editing of my current WIP (Work In Progress). It was fun to hear Tolkien's process, learning how elements changed as the story progressed. My writer's heart reveled in the sense of connectedness.

Classes I missed: Penny Whistle lessons; dance lessons; camping tips; siege engine class; classes offered by Dr. Amy Sturgis comparing LOTR with Harry Potter and Star Wars; craft classes; writing group; choir; weapons classes; costuming classes, and more.

The afternoon and evening was spent at the Party Field, where an archery competition took place before dinner.
 The Party Field on Wednesday morning.

The Party Field the night of the Hungry Hobbits. Dinner consisted of a delicious meatloaf, green beans, salsify (salsifee) casserole, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin bread. Delicious! My thanks and congratulations to the caterer for producing tasty meals while avoiding the major allergies.

Entertainment included dancing, skits, choir performances, a reading in Old English of a bit of Beowolf by Dr. Drout, Bilbo Baggins' famous speech (done brilliantly), and long goodbyes.

Many returned to the Dancing Pony in the basement of the West Family Dwelling, which is where our little group called home. I'm not a fan of closed in places crowded with a lot of people. I chose to go to bed, as usual. I felt rested by the end. It was wonderful. I was afraid it would be noisy, but the soundproofing was amazing.

The whole thing came together because so many are dedicated to doing what needs to be done. Bilbo Baggins swore the first ALEP would be a one-off. We're all looking forward to ALEP 5, in 3 years. The success was due to his hard work, along with his partner in crime, Pippin. By the way, a fun side note is that Pippin met his future wife at the first ALEP.

The Adventure isn't over.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

There and Back Again Day 6

Awake around 7 AM to face a busy day. I planned to attend a bunch of workshops. I ended up only attending those presented by Dr. Michael Drout. Next time, I'll attend more. This year, it was about learning to embrace the adventure and take care of me.

I walked to breakfast, meeting S at the Trustees' Table. I wanted to take pictures of the sunrise and will share them as my pretty picture for the day. a way to stretch out my enjoyment.

This tree has been dubbed an Entwife, one of Tolkien's character that you never actually meet. Entwives are spoken of by Treebeard, an Ent.

I attended both classes presented by Dr. Drout, "Tolkien and the Artifact" and "Tolkien's Medieval Scholarship." The room was packed, both times.

Friday night was the Baddies night. Some of the outfits were astonishing. We had goblins, orcs, trolls, the Witch King, Ringwraiths, and Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. LOL!

Dinner at the barn started with Kentucky Burgoo. My least favorite meal of the whole adventure. I'm not a fan of chili or soup (except my tomato soup haha). The peach cobbler was yummy.

Many returned to continue the party at the Dancing Pony/Green Dragon until 2 AM. I slept. I know, boring, but I was grateful for the restorative rest.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 19:10

Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Links

Restless Jo shares some wonderful pictures on her walks:

Caroline Warfield shares a fascinating bit of history in "With Byron in Venice."

God bless.

Friday, October 13, 2017

There and Back Again Day 5

The first full day of ALEP started with First Breakfast. Only S and I chose to pay for the breakfast buffet at the Trustees' Table, served here:

Bacon was a must. I also enjoyed yogurt, roasted potatoes, and delicious spiced apples. I passed on the sausage, eggs, and grits.

My friends took me on a tour of the area. It's been nine years since my last visit. They shared stories of ALEPs I'd missed. It's mostly walking everywhere. The shoes I'd bought at our local Renaissance Fair, about 12 years ago, were prefect.

We kept lunch simple, eating in our living room from things we'd brought. I put my feet up for a while. My plan was to attend the lecture offered by Dr. Michael Drout, who teaches at Wheaton College, in Massachusetts. His flight was cancelled, and he didn't make it until that evening. He loves Tolkien, too, and has studied him extensively. I remember him from my first ALEP. He hasn't missed any.

Thursday night, I chose the green skirt and a blue peasant-type blouse. Dinner at the barn included Cider Glazed Pork Loin, veggies, rolls, and a Brownie. More entertainment. We also had a special tribute to one of our own. Jef Murray was a gifted artist. I met him at the first ALEP, but became better acquainted with him and his wife on social media. Two years ago, I was waiting for him to post his Tuesday picture, always a treat, and it never came. The next day it was posted that he had passed away suddenly. We'd all lost a dear friend much too soon. A beautiful slideshow was prepared, and those of us who wanted to carried the lanterns from the barn back to the dwellings. Master Baggins and a few others who created and ran ALEP offered fond memories of Jef's enthusiasm in the ALEP project. He was also an original presenter and never missed. His absence is deeply felt, even now.

I took some time to find a quiet moment alone. The moon was full or close to it. The skies were clear and stars filled the black expanse. I'm able to see a few stars here in the Valley. Orion is visible. There, in the village, there's only the lights along the paths and shining from within the buildings. I'd forgotten what a blanket of stars looked like.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

There and Back Again Day 4

The official start of ALEP. Registration started at noon. However, there were things to do, starting with First Breakfast. We chose to eat at Village Inn. The others, L, S, and T, had all eaten there before. I was trusting them from beginning to end.

This is not the chain "Village Inn." It's a little place you'd overlook if you didn't know what you were looking for and might bypass if you judged the place by first glance. Not fancy would be putting it mildly. It was... comfortable, well worn type comfortable. No table clothes. No matching tables or chairs. I'd been craving biscuits and gravy, not something I've successfully made myself. It wasn't expensive and hoped I'd made a good choice. Oh. My. Goodness! I will never be able to eat biscuits and gravy anywhere else ever again. It was heaven on a plate. Big, fluffy biscuits covered in a tasty gravy that blessedly wasn't over-peppered. Yes, this is my cheat food for pepper. I didn't even feel like I was cheating. It was simply delicious.

I have never been with a group and talked and laughed so much. We had to cram in as much as possible because it will be another three years before we meet up again.

Lights needed to be untangled and checked for the Party Field, for the Saturday night activity. S was helping with registration, so L, J, and I helped T with the lights. By the time we finished, it was time for Lunch. I was still full, but the others wanted to visit Kentucky Fudge, on Harrodsburg's Main Street. It has all kinds of historical memorabilia from when the place was an old pharmacy and soda shop. "I'm going on an adventure!" I went along. L and S had been bragging about the malts available. I ordered a chocolate malt. Oh. My. Goodness! I have to wait three years to order another one. Planning ahead. The others were tempted by the grilled cheese sandwiches. I was tempted but not hungry enough to follow through. The malt was enough.

Back to the Shaker Village. We officially registered at the West Family Dwelling, where we also lived. The fun begins, well, more fun begins. My help wasn't needed in registration, but they needed help in the Trading Post. Some attendees brought products they'd made to sell, clothes, pottery, jewelry, CDs from Marc Gunn, who plays the autoharp, and yes, you can find his music online. L and I went over to see if help was needed there.

Master Baggins taught those present how to ring up a purchase using mine. Yes, I'm still horse crazy. I planned this purchase. The White Tree and the Banner of Rohan. I couldn't choose.

I took time to put my feet up before dinner. I wore the brown stretch velvet gown. I rode with S to the barn, for dinner. It's an old tobacco drying barn. We were fed half a roasted chicken and vegetable, like zucchini, and Shaker Lemon pie. Well fed and entertained by Marc and skits prepared by attendees.

The western view from barn the first evening of the official opening of ALEP.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

There and Back Again Day 3

Side note/update: Caught up on emails and blog posts. Did I mention that I disconnected from the world? My little phone is able to make calls and texts. That's it. I only sent texts to let family know where I was. No phone. No computer. No television (by choice). No radio. I'm also realizing that I sometimes note something on one day when it was on another, a bit of blending. I'm endeavoring to be as accurate as possible. Should have taken better notes. Oh, wait! I took notes. I can't find them. *pfft*

On the road again.

We woke between 5:15 and 5:30 AM, dressed, packed the Suburban, and ate breakfast at 6 AM. At 6:30 AM we picked up our fourth hobbit, who did the driving. S has driven the route so many times she could do it in her sleep. We didn't use the interstate but two-lane back roads.

It was beautiful driving through northern Georgia, Tennessee, and Kentucky. We arrived at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, Kentucky, in the afternoon. We settled in. L, J, and S in the sitting room, which included a couple of overstuffed armchairs, an ottoman, and a couch. I was given the bedroom as I was the only one who loves the orthopedic foam mattress. Woohoo!

My walls were covered with costumes:

I wore the brown stretch velvet with lace sleeves above. The costumes were mostly L's, and she generously shared with me.

L wore these. Those are my bedtime socks on the bed and my carryon bag.

I wore these to dinner, combining them into three different outfits.

We met one of our online friends, T, and went to dinner together at the Old Owl Tavern. I wasn't particularly hungry. I looked at what was available that I could eat. The joy of being allergic to all things pepper, of any kind. The only possibility was a kale and poached pear salad. Really? I wasn't thrilled. Not a fan of kale or greens for that matter. A firm reminder that "I'm going on an adventure," which included food (within reason), and I ordered the salad. It included goat cheese and bacon. Oh. My. Goodness! It was delicious. I'd order it again, without hesitation.

One more stop before heading home, Krogers, to pick up a few things. They had my newly discovered Vitacoco water, on sale. Now the tricky part. I had a store card for the grocery store that sells Kroger products in Arizona. Would it work in Kentucky? Yes!

Home, and I was ready to go to bed at 10 PM. I'd adapted quickly to the three-hour time difference.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 19:9

A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Links

Denise Balog's posts are always short and inspirational, a brief poem and a Bible verse. I save hers for when I need a spiritual boost in the day:

Debbie Kay, over at Hope For the Broken Hearted, posted this the Saturday morning before Irma reached southern Florida. I did not know the story of "It Is Well With My Soul."

God bless.

Friday, October 6, 2017

There and Back Again Day 2

The first room had little roaches running around on the desk. We were given another room. We woke around 5:30 AM. I was last. We readied for the day, packed the Suburban, and ate breakfast at 6 AM.

On the road again, we finished crossing Louisiana, long bridges over huge areas of water. We crossed Mississippi into Alabama and headed north. We cut across to Atlanta and took the loop around, hitting some road construction. It slowed us, but it could have been worse.

We continued on to Dawsonville, Georgia, and met our fourth adventurer. The four hobbits went to dinner, and I ordered a hamburger on ciabatta and French fries. It was yummy. I think it was Ruby Tuesday. Again, I wrote notes and have no idea where they ended up.

The company laughed and planned. Another hotel. No roaches, blessedly.

I didn't see much of the countryside because walls of trees lined I-10.

Sugarcane fields. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

There and Back Again Day 1

I debated how to write this. Should I make one long write up? Or break it up?

Coming home to around 700 emails (spread over several accounts), I appreciate the short posts, so short it is.

I attended the ALEP 4, also known as 4LEP. I attended the first ALEP (A Long Expected Party) nine years ago. They occur every 3 years. The following 2 events occurred when I had deadlines. When I realized I'd have no deadlines for the 4th event, I began planning, almost two years ago.

Friends at the first event invited me to attend, offering to share a room. I registered last year, in July, as soon as it opened. One of them, L,  later asked if I'd drive with her, from Texas to Kentucky. With my back, I hesitated. However, Goggins had become a part of my life, and I decided to do what I needed to do to make it possible. I upped my workout so I'd be ready and said, "Yes!"

Thinking about it as a vacation was stressing me out. I knew it wouldn't be relaxed. It would be busy. Things would go wrong. It's a Lord of the Rings event. I made the mental connections and declared, "I'm going on an adventure!" Completely changed my perspective.

Then L asked if we could bring a guy along, J. I knew them all from a previous LOTR event. Sure. Her husband had wanted her to bring another woman along so she wasn't alone. I appreciated having a man along. Three was safer than two. Then it was decided we'd pick up a fourth friend, S, in Georgia.

Austin, Texas, to Dawsonville, Georgia: 1,013 miles or 14 hours and 46 minutes. Dawsonville, Georgia to Harrodsburg, Kentucky, a bit south of the Shaker Village: 331 miles 5 hours and 45 minutes. Almost 22 hours of driving, after my 2-1/2 hour flight from Phoenix, Arizona, to Austin Texas.

I was all in. "I'm going on an adventure!" It wouldn't be comfortable. It wouldn't be perfect. It would be worth it.

I wrote lists and checked them off and wrote more lists. I made purchases. I sent a list of things for L to buy so I wouldn't have to worry about packing them, things like shampoo and conditioner, etc. We texted and messaged back and forth about our plans. I was as prepared as I knew how to be.

Sunday morning, 23 September, my dad woke me at 3:30 AM. My alarm was set for 3:45 AM. He was excited for me and didn't want me to be late. Check in was at 5 AM for my 7 AM flight on Southwest (my favorite airline and the only one I'll use).

I worried about security. I hadn't flown since the increased security. The TSA agent informed me I'd already been cleared for Pre-check! Woohoo! I didn't know where to look on my ticket. The agents were helpful and didn't harass me about my nervousness. They did have to check my suitcase as the x-ray machine showed beans. Why beans are a problem, I don't know. Doesn't matter. The man opened my suitcase, and I explained that the bean-filled stuffie was my aromatherapy dog. His look was doubtful. I explained that it smells like lavender, and I sleep with it close to my face. Understanding replaced confusion and I was sent on my way.

The flight was a little late. Maintenance. My first reaction was panic. I couldn't be late. People were waiting for me in order to head east.

"I'm going on an adventure!" Give the battle to God and praise Him in the storm.

The problem was cleared up in a few minutes, and we were on our way. I arrived pretty much on time. Since I only did carryon, a bag and a backpack, I was outside in no time, and we were on our way.

Austin to our first stop. Lunch at a steakhouse L wanted to try, only it wasn't a steakhouse anymore. L had asked me what type of food I wouldn't eat. Mexican because it almost always includes peppers of what kind or another, to which I'm allergic. What had the steakhouse become? Yep, Mexican food. Best Italian pasta I've ever eaten. I took notes. Do I know where they are? Nope.

From there we headed for the loop bypassing Houston. My friends pointed out the water line on the trees, from Harvey. Garbage was still stacked outside many homes. Houston to the other side of Baton Rogue, it was dark and we stopped for the night.
The first picture I took on my adventure. Somehow I failed to take a single picture the first day. This is day two, and it's raining. I took the picture through the front windshield in the comfortable 2002 Suburban. L drove during the day. J drove when it was dark. I navigated.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Sunday Scripture

Proverbs 19:8

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.